FIVE THINGS TO KNOW PENGUINS (32-20-5--69pts) at FLYERS (32-18-7--71pts)
1. THE TOP TWO
Today's game features the Top 2 players in the NHL's scoring race… Evgeni Malkin leads all players with 69 points (32G-37A), while Claude Giroux ranks second, just two points behind Malkin with 67 points (22G-45A) … More on each player below
2. IMPORTANT POINTS
The Flyers and Penguins are battling for important points today … The Flyers (71pts) are two points ahead of the Pens (69pts) having played the same amount of games, however the Flyers own the season series by winning both meetings on the year thus far.
3. GROSSMAN TO DEBUT
Today will be Nicklas Grossman's Flyers debut after coming over to the team on Thursday night in a trade with Dallas … This will also be just his sixth game against the Penguins, having spent his entire five-year NHL career in the Western Conference.
4. Player to watch PENGUINS: Evgeni Malkin
Malkin has recorded at least a point in five of his last six games, posting 10 points (5G-5A) in that span, including a five-point game (1G-4A).
5. Player to watch FLYERS: Claude Giroux
Giroux has posted at least a point in six of his last eight games, recording 12 points (4G-8A) during that stretch which also included a five-point night (5A).
GAME PREVIEW TV: NHLN-US, ROOT, CSN-PH
Last 10: Pittsburgh 6-3-1; Philadelphia 4-4-2
Season series: This is the third of six meetings between the intrastate rivals. The Flyers won the first two games, most recently a 4-2 win Dec. 29 in Pittsburgh that saw ex-Penguins Maxime Talbot and Jaromir Jagr score in their first games back there with the Flyers.
Big Story: The Penguins have surged to within two points of the fourth-place Flyers. Can they keep their roll going? Or can the Flyers win consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 10-12?
Penguins: The Penguins shuffled a few lines in Friday's practice as they prepare for the Flyers on Saturday, a game that should include Arron Asham back in the lineup. Asham has been out since Jan. 15 due to a concussion. He skated Friday at right wing on a line with left wing Matt Cooke and center Dustin Jeffrey.
The top line of Evgeni Malkin centering Chris Kunitz and James Neal stayed the same. Other trios saw Jordan Staal centering Pascal Dupuis and Steve Sullivan, and Joe Vitale between Craig Adams and Richard Park.
Flyers:Nicklas Grossman said he was as surprised as many other people to learn he had been traded to the Flyers by the Dallas Stars on Thursday.
Grossman, who was paired with Andrej Meszaros for his first practice Friday, said he's happy to be in a hockey-oriented town like Philadelphia.
"There's a lot of good history here and it's a big hockey town," Grossman said. "The fans are really into it. I'm really excited to come here and play in a hockey-based town. It's going to be exciting to be on this team."
Who's Hot: Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, the League's leading scorer, has 5 goals and 5 assists in his last five games. … Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds had his second 2-goal game of the season Thursday, and in his last eight games, he's scored 7 times.
Injury Report: Penguins forward Sidney Crosby (concussion) and Tyler Kennedy (high ankle sprain) are out. … Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk is out indefinitely with a concussion. Center Danny Briere is questionable with an upper-body injury suffered in the first period of Thursday's game, and Jagr is questionable due to the flu. Forward Tom Sestito will be out 6-8 weeks with a torn groin muscle suffered in Thursday's game.
Stat Pack: In 32 regular-season games against the Flyers, Malkin has 18 goals, 28 assists and 46 points -- that's the most in each category he's scored against any other NHL team.